'Silver Surfers' day targets the over-50s

Seeking to end digital exclusion

In an effort to get more Brits over 50 online, today has been named "Silver Surfers" day, with 69-year-old Dennis Rogers scooping the "Silver Surfer of the Year, 2004" award.

Organiser Hairnet says it wants to combat digital exclusion by showing how technology is relevent to people's lives. To mark the occassion, Hairnet has fitted the York to London express train with Wi-Fi - one of many events taking place up and down the country.

Hairnet gives awards to people who have made imaginative use of technology, or those whose lives have been changed by it. Rogers was chosen because he used computers to combat his dyslexia. His first encounter with IT was in January this year, when he went to a local learning centre.

"To begin with there was no one more nervous than me," he told the BBC. "Now I find I can do things for myself. My friends can get in touch by e-mail and we discuss things and help each other."

In the US, 22 per cent of people of retirement age now have net access, and according to Datamonitor, the over 55 age group is the fastest-growing online population. Similar patterns have been identified in the UK. ®

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